Valentina Tereshkova (born 6 March 1937) is the first woman in space, now a retired Soviet cosmonaut. Out of more than four hundred applicants and then out of five finalists, she was selected to pilot Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963 and become the first woman to fly in space. This also made her the first civilian in space (she was only honorarily inducted into the USSR's Air Force as a condition on joining the Cosmonaut Corps). On this mission, lasting almost three days in space, she performed various tests on herself to collect data on the female body's reaction to spaceflight.
Before being recruited as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist. After the female cosmonaut group was dissolved in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, she retired from politics and remains revered as a hero in Russia.